New Delhi: Barring brief spells in the late 1970s and early 1990s, Amethi has always been held by the Congress with four members of the Nehru-Gandhi family representing it. This time, however, the BJP top brass has put in its might in a bid to defeat Congress president and sitting MP Rahul Gandhi with his challenger Smriti Irani and BJP president Amit Shah holding a joint rally in the high-profile seat where campaigning ended on Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had campaigned for Ms Irani last month. Mr Shah decscribed the fight as one between “dynasty and development”.
The Union textiles minister who is challenging Mr Gandhi for the third consecutive time and has been nurturing the constituency since first jumping into the fray in 2009 had lost to the Congress president by 1.07 lakh votes in 2014 considered — not too big a margin for a seat as high-profile as Amethi.
Ms Irani though has had a tough challenger in Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who has been managing both Amethi and Rae Bareli constituencies for her brother and mother Sonia Gandhi.
Congress sources said that the decision taken to field Priyanka from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi was rescinded keeping in mind the need for her to campaign extensively in these two constituencies.
The sources also indicated that if the Congress president wins from both Amethi and Wayanad, then he might give up the Amethi seat for Ms Gandhi-Vadra to contest in a bye-election.
It might be recalled that the BJP had accused Mr Gandhi of running away from Amethi fearing a defeat when his candidature was announced from Wayanad. Possibly to offset such criticism, on Friday, Mr Gandhi wrote a letter to voters in Amethi urging them to vote him back.
Despite earlier reports that the Congress could be in a tricky situation in Amethi, the latest trends indicate that Mr Gandhi has consodilated his position and continues to have an edge....